‘Right-to-work’ bill dies, but lawmakers override vetoes on unemployment, minimum wage

The Missouri General Assembly voted during Wednesday’s veto session to override a majority of Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes but failed to pass the contentious “right-to-work” legislation, a main target of this year’s session.

All told, the Republican-controlled legislature overrode 10 of 18 bills vetoed by Nixon, a Democrat. Republicans hold the two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate needed to override the Democratic governor’s vetoes.

After two hours of heated debate Wednesday afternoon, the House voted 93-63 to override the governor’s veto of the right-to-work laws, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for an override. The chamber, filled with visitors — including many union members, who were against the measure — erupted in applause when the votes were announced.

Among them was Don Marshall, the Voluntary Community Action Program chairman of the United Auto Workers union local chapter in Kansas, who lives and votes in Grain Valley. The union represents more 10,000 employees at two local plants in Missouri, according to Marshall.

“I was not surprised by the vote, ” Marshall said. “This thing has been coming up over and over and over. Me myself, as a parent, when I tell my kids ‘No,’ I mean ‘No.’ This is like ‘No’ for the umpteenth time. When will they get it? Some of them don’t get it.”

After another two-hour-long debate in the Senate that stretched close to midnight, lawmakers overturned the governor’s veto of HB 722, a measure that limits municipal control over the minimum wage, employment benefits and plastic shopping bag bans. The bill, which had received two-thirds backing in the House earlier in the day, will become law.

The GOP-led legislature also struck down the governor’s veto of HB 150, a measure that will cut the amount of time an individual can collect unemployment benefits to 13 weeks from 20 weeks. The bill will become law, barring any constitutional setbacks due to the House overriding the veto in May and the Senate not doing so until Wednesday night.

Lawmakers also passed legislation to ease rules dealing with out-of-state trust companies that operate in Missouri. In a separate vote, legislators passed a measure that will allow lenders in Missouri, including banks, credit unions and consumer installment lenders, to charge consumers more for loans issued 30 days or longer.

The Senate and the House also overturned Nixon’s veto of a bill that prevents A+ scholarship funds from going to students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

The General Assembly failed to override the governor’s veto of a bill that would have increased court fees and used those fees to fund local capital projects.

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